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Partial Collapse of Building Under Construction in Denver; Extreme Heat Hits Las Vegas; U.K. Terror Suspects Linked to al Qaeda; State Department Pressed to Meet Passport Requests; Civil Rights Activists Rally for Genarlow Wilson

Aired July 05, 2007 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST: Forget Harry Potter. The must-have book now? The little blue volume with "United States of America" on the cover. A passport to frustration for millions of people. Is relief in sight?
DON LEMON, CO-HOST: Frustration keeps on building for supporters of Genarlow Wilson and the Scooter Libby case didn't help. Wilson gets a rally instead of a hearing. And the powers that be get an earful.

Hello -- hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

PHILLIPS: And I'm Kyra Phillips. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: And we start this newscast with some breaking news happening from Denver, Colorado. Initial reports show that 14 construction workers may have been hurt in this building collapse. We're getting revised estimates now, just saying that several workers were injured when a 12th floor of a village -- Greenwood Village retail business and condominiums that were under construction collapsed this morning there in Denver.

You're looking at pictures from our affiliate, KMGH, in Greenwood Springs, Colorado. Now here's what they tell us.

They said they sent numerous ambulances and fire trucks to that construction accident. All of the injured persons appear to be construction workers. Firefighters responded to the 14-story landmark building, where the 12th floor had been pouring concrete.

Again, all of the construction workers appear to have been working. Thirteen or 14 of them, had been working on the 12th and 11th floors. We're working on trying to get some conditions and updates on this story. And we'll bring it to you right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: Other top story. Broiling hot from Las Vegas to Phoenix, even to the L.A. Basin. Temperatures are soaring well into the triple digits, sapping energy from people and utilities alike.

Rain is out there, just not where it's needed. We've got it all for you in the NEWSROOM. Our latest check now, Phoenix, Arizona, 102 degrees. So how long will it stay that hot, Reynolds Wolf?


PHILLIPS: All right. Reynolds Wolf, thanks so much. We'll be talking to you for the next couple of hours.


LEMON: A matter of degrees. Usually, it's around 106 in Las Vegas this time of year. Plenty hot enough. But add 10 degrees and hot, well, it becomes blistering.

Here is CNN's Chris Lawrence on what could be the hottest day ever recorded there.


CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is going to be an extremely dangerous day when, at 7 a.m. in the morning, our thermometers were already reading over 91 degrees.

The all-time record in Las Vegas is 117 degrees, and the forecast for today? 116. That's why officials have issued an extreme heat warning for parts of Nevada.

And there is definitely a danger of heat exhaustion. Now, that's when you start to sweat profusely. You get very tired, almost disoriented, and that can lead to the even more serious heat stroke.

Nationwide, about 175 people a year die from heat-related causes, and doctors are urging people to drink water, wear long-sleeved, light colored clothing, and most especially to avoid alcohol. This is easier said than done here in Las Vegas.

We saw some residents out playing tennis in the morning, and at the Palms Casino Resort, sitting outside in the sun at high noon. A lot of them were slapping on sunscreen, guzzling a lot of water. Some of them even going for a swim, trying to keep cool anyway they can.

And they better. Because there is only a mild break expected by this weekend.

Chris Lawrence, CNN, Las Vegas.


LEMON: Folks around the country hoping what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It's so hot in parts of California that Governor Schwarzenegger has ordered 13 counties to set up cooling centers. We'll check in with that state's emergency services at the bottom of the hour.

If you're out in the middle of this heat wave, let us know how you're managing to stay cool. Just send your I-Reports to

PHILLIPS: Well, the threat level may be lower, but the terror investigation in Great Britain is still going full throttle. Here's what we know right now.

Police in Scotland are going through a rented house near the Glasgow Airport. They believe at least two suspects from the London and Glasgow car bombings lived there and possibly made bombs there. The nationalities of the eight suspects in custody is also of high interest.

Investigators are trying to link two suspects from India and six from the Middle East and figure out how they came into contact with one other. Now, yesterday, British officials downgraded the terror threat level one step to severe. They no longer feel attacks are imminent, but high security measures remain in place throughout the U.K.

Let's get straight to London now at Scotland Yard. CNN's Karl Penhaul has the latest.

Karl, how do British investigators think that these men linked up and were connected to al Qaeda?

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kyra, there seem to be a number of indications of how these men are linked. Obviously, one of the suspects, also a woman. She happens to be the wife of one of the suspects that was arrested, as well.

But all eight linked to the medical profession in some way. Either doctors, or medical students. And one of them is a laboratory assistant, a technician. And so that is one way they were linked.

As far as the indications that we've got, they all seem to be of the Muslim faith, even those who hail originally from India. There also seem, more based on media reports and reports that the authorities have given us, but there seem to be some family ties between some of them. Both of those of the Middle Eastern origin and those of the Indian origin, as well.

And then, when they came to Britain to work for the National Health Authority in the hospitals here, again, many of them seem to have come together working in the same hospitals, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So what kind of evidence did they leave behind, Karl?

PENHAUL: There seems to be a trail of clues that have been left for investigators just to pick up, and that because these car bombs didn't explode, as was intended.

And so that has left traces of cell phones that were going to be used as trigger mechanisms, cell phone records, records of cell phone calls. Two of the men at least were traced to a rented property in Scotland.

And so because of the kind of forensic information that has been found, both at those houses, one of those houses actually being searched. And also, in the vehicles, that has provided investigators with much more clues than they would normally expect to find if car bombs had actually detonated and been completely destroyed, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Karl Penhaul, live from Scotland Yard. Thanks, Karl.

LEMON: A Georgia inmate draws the national spotlight. Civil rights activists head to Atlanta to push for the release of Genarlow Wilson.

PHILLIPS: A high-profile political family in some unwanted limelight. We're going to have the latest on the drug-related arrest of Al Gore III.

LEMON: And a sizzling day in the southwest, with temperatures in the danger zone. You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


LEMON: For months now, we've been warning you about a vast backlog in processing U.S. passport applications, a backlog that's disrupted summer travel plans for thousands of Americans. The State Department is taking new steps to reduce that backlog.

Sean Callebs is in New Orleans with more.


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New Orleans is rolling out the welcome mat. A couple of hundred employees of the U.S. State Department are being told they must work here at a passport processing office in New Orleans or one in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The reason? There's a huge backlog of citizens waiting for their passports.

You see, back in 2004, the U.S. approved a law that said by 2007, all U.S. citizens must have a valid passport if they were going to travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda. So many applied to meet these new regulations, the State Department is simply overwhelmed.

To give you an example, last year the U.S. approved about 12 million passports. Already this year, in July, the U.S. has approved 10.3 million and could approve as many as 18 million.

A couple of hundred employees doesn't sound like a lot, but in the last several years, the State Department has hired 2,500 new workers to cope with this expected onslaught of passport applications. And they hope -- they hope the summer months will slow down and they will be able to catch up.

Sean Callebs, CNN, New Orleans.


LEMON: It is 12 past the hour here. Here are three of the stories we're working on for you in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Four workers have been rushed to the hospital with serious injuries after a construction accident in suburban Denver. You're looking at live pictures of the scene now from our affiliate KUSA. The roof of a 14-story condominium project collapsed there. Details to come in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A major heat wave in the west: 100-degree temperatures are predicted as far north as Washington state and Idaho. And Las Vegas expects to reach a sizzling -- get this -- 116 degrees.

Former vice president, Al Gore, says his son's arrest is a private matter. Twenty-four-year-old Al Gore III is accused of possessing marijuana and prescription drugs. He's been released on bond, and the family says he's getting treatment.

PHILLIPS: A civil rights rally near Atlanta today, demanding the release of Genarlow Wilson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Genarlow. Free Genarlow! Free Genarlow!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Genarlow. Free Genarlow! Free Genarlow!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... Genarlow. Free Genarlow! Free Genarlow!


PHILLIPS: That rally happening right now, as the 24-year-old Georgia man is serving a ten-year prison sentence for aggravated child molestation.

Now, he was 17 when he had consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl, an act that now would bring a one-year jail term at most.

CNN's Rusty Dornin has been following the story. We are covering that rally live right now here. Just -- we're within Atlanta, Georgia.

So now there's this tug of war -- tug of war going on, obviously. Thought the case was over, he was going to be released. There was an appeal. Now there's this back and forth. It's going all the way to the Supreme Court now.

PHILLIPS: That's right. Because the superior judge that threw it out said it was a miscarriage of justice. The attorney general of Georgia said, wait a minute. If you do that, it could set a precedent for those 1,300 who have already been convicted as child molesters. This could set a precedent for them to appeal their conviction. So he stopped it at the Georgia Supreme Court.

Meantime, Genarlow Wilson's attorney is trying to get him out on bond. But apparently, you're not allowed to have bond while you're on appeal for the Supreme Court. She's saying, "Wait a minute, that's not true." So she's also appealing to the Supreme Court this emergency bond measure.

So two things are in front of the court. Meantime, Genarlow Wilson is still in jail. And you have today, of course, Reverend Al Sharpton and Reverend Joseph Lowery holding a civil rights demonstration, basically saying that he should not be held in jail any longer.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's interesting. Because bottom line, the concern is this case will set a precedent for all these other sex offenders, as you were saying, to use this case as a way to get out of jail.

But it's so -- it's different...

DORNIN: Very different.


DORNIN: And his attorney, B.J. Bernstein, claims that if they would have just stuck with the superior court judge's decision to overturn the conviction, it wouldn't have set a precedent.

But now you will have the Georgia Supreme Court ruling on it, and it will definitely set a precedent for these cases, no matter what happens.

PHILLIPS: Any idea how long will this could take? Because...

DORNIN: Well, the first thing we'll hear about is the bond, whether he will be able to get bond while he's on appeal. Because the Georgia Supreme Court is not even going to hear this issue until October.

So there's the possibility that Genarlow Wilson, no matter -- no matter what happens, will remain in jail until October.

PHILLIPS: And we should point out, there are a lot of people raising money to get him out. It's a million-dollar bond. There's a lot of wealthy...

DORNIN: That's right.

PHILLIPS: ... wealthy white businessmen that actually came forward and said, "I'll pay the money to get him out." Right?

DORNIN: Right. A New York investment manager said he put up a million dollars with 10 other businessmen.

Also, the man who -- the Georgia representative who wrote the original law, the reason he was sentenced to ten years in prison, he is now saying, "This is not right; this is not what the law was intended for. You should let Genarlow Wilson go." And he is actually filing a brief with the Georgia Supreme Court.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's just interesting. He's becoming a political football. It's reminiscent of the Terri Schiavo case, with the back and forth and going to the Supreme Court and just taking forever to hammer this out. It's interesting.

All right. We'll keep following it. Thanks, Rusty.

LEMON: All right. Happening right now, we just have some new information on a developing story in Denver.

We told you about that building collapse, where several construction workers were hurt. Live pictures now from our affiliate, KUSA, in Greenwood Village, Colorado.

Let's go now to one of the people in charge of the investigation there. Dan Mulroney, he's the chief of operations for South Metro Fire and Rescue.

Can you give us an update, sir?

DAN MULRONEY, CHIEF OF OPERATIONS, SOUTH METRO FIRE AND RESCUE: Yes. We responded at 9:23 this morning. We had a partial collapse of the 12th floor.

This was a construction crew. They were on the roof of the 13th floor. It was wet cement they were pouring, and the victims went down to the 12th -- 12th floor. None of them were -- needed extrication upon entering the area.

And we have 13 victims, four serious injuries. They were all transported to community hospitals. And -- and the South Metro, Littleton, Parker and Englewood fire departments responded with private ambulances.

And at the present time, it's all clear and we're in investigation mode.

LEMON: So you're saying -- everyone was on the 13th floor when it happened. No one on the 12th floor. The concrete did not fall on top of the people on the 12th floor.

MULRONEY: Correct. And this was wet cement. It wasn't dried yet. It was -- they were all extricated upon our arrival.

LEMON: So this happened 9:23, about 9 in the morning your time, Mountain Time, 11 a.m. Eastern Time the call came in. Again, you said, what, 13 folks injured. They're all construction workers?


LEMON: And four serious injuries. Do you know what the injuries are?

MULRONEY: You know, I'm not familiar with that at this time. I don't know. But they were serious injuries.

LEMON: OK. Now how were they -- how did they get out of there? Were they able to come down? I mean, if they were so high, did they bring them down? Is there a makeshift elevator in the building, or were there stairs? Or were they loaded onto a life support helicopter and taken out?

MULRONEY: They were loaded onto a construction elevator, all 13 folks. Lowered through the construction elevator.

LEMON: OK. Have you been able to get in touch with all of the people involved, their family members and what have you?

MULRONEY: It hasn't happened at this time.

LEMON: OK. Thank you so much for joining us today, Chief Dan Mulroney. He's the chief of operations for the South Metro Fire and Rescue there in Denver, Colorado.

Again, we're reporting to you some developing news happening in the CNN NEWSROOM. A construction accident in Denver. We're just getting word from the chief there, 13 folks injured, all of them construction workers. Four men in serious condition. We'll continue to update this story throughout the afternoon here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: On with the sunscreen, off with pretty much everything else. The Western U.S. sweating out a heat wave. Vegas gambling on a record high today. We're going to check in on its neighbor to the west, coming up.


PHILLIPS: And this just in to CNN. As you know, as we've been following this for months and months and months, Scooter Libby, right- hand man to Dick Cheney, accused of obstruction of justice.

Recently, the president did not pardon him but granted him with a commutation, which is definitely to his advantage. It keeps him out of prison, and it may wipe out his two-year probation.

But that may sound good for him. But still, he has had other things he has had to do in order to make up for what he was accused of. One of that was paying a $250,000 fine.

We're just getting word that he did that. He has paid his fine. As a matter of fact, this just came to us. A cashier's check, Scooter Libby, right here, writing a check for $250,000. That's his fine.

There's also a $400 addition to that, as a special assessment attached to -- to that check. But there it is, just now coming across. You can see it via the Internet.

So we're going to continue to follow this. A lot of controversy over whether Scooter Libby has been a part of a good old boy network, getting an easy off to what he was involved with, in regards to not telling the truth.

And this is just one step in part of that commutation: paying a $250,000 fine. Just getting word that that has happened in cash, a check to Bank of America. LEMON: Yes. As a matter of fact, we're going to talk to an attorney who is hoping that this will help his client's sentencing, at least set a precedent when it comes to that. A little bit later on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

We're going to talk about business now. Coca-Cola, already the world's largest soft drink company, and it wants to get even bigger. Stephanie Elam is at the New York Stock Exchange with details about Coke's latest target.

Hi, Stephanie. So looks like Coca-Cola -- let's see -- Apple, and Wal-Mart, they just want to take over the world.


LEMON: And don't forget about Oprah.

ELAM: You can't forget about Oprah. She'll actually be in control of all of those companies, right?

LEMON: Right.

ELAM: Right. Well, you know, it's summer around these parts, and yesterday was the Fourth of July. So it sounds like a good time for a nice, refreshing -- cool refreshing drink. Iced tea, to be exact.

And that may be part of the reason why Coca-Cola is reportedly looking to make a bid for Snapple, the iced tea division, which is actually owned by Britain's Cadbury Schweppes. Such a deal would help Coke build its menu of non-soda drinks, as more people gravitate towards juice, tea and bottled water.

Coca-Cola just earlier this year actually dropped more than $4 billion to acquire the makers of Vitamin Water. Coke would not confirm its interest in Snapple, however, Don.

LEMON: OK. So I thought it was supposed to be a quiet week. You know, July. Did everyone check out on Wall Street or something? What's going on?

ELAM: Remember when we were here, actually, the day before the fourth, on the third. It got really quiet, really quickly?

LEMON: yes.

ELAM: Well, not apparently -- not everybody got the memo, maybe because Fourth of July is right in the middle of the week. But the New York Stock Exchange was, of course, closed on Wednesday for the holiday, and it shut down early Tuesday. And then a few hours later, the BlackBerries went off and then again a second time.

Not one, but two monster announcements actually hit the wires Tuesday night. It seems they wanted to get these deals out before they went on vacation. And the first came from legendary buyout firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, following an IPO valued at $1.25 billion. That news was followed by an announcement from KKR rival, not to be outdone. Blackstone announced that it's buying the Hilton hotels for a whopping $26 billion.

Shares of Hilton Hotels are soaring, up about 26 percent, because of this news. Blackstone's agreement to buy the hotel chain is raising questions about whether rivals Marriott or Starwood might be the next takeover targets.

Shares of Marriott and Starwood are adding more than 7 percent on this one.

Back to you, Don.

LEMON: All right. Stephanie Elam, we'll check back with you. Thank you.

ELAM: Thanks.

PHILLIPS: Straight ahead, fireworks gone wrong.




PHILLIPS: Well, this incident, one of several around the country that killed or injured Fourth of July revelers. We'll tell you about it, straight ahead.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Philips, live at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon.

If you can't stand the heat, well, stay out of the outdoors.

Dangerous temperatures in the southwest. We've details from the weather center. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

A blistering heatwave takes hold of the southwest. Temperatures are climbing well into the triple digits, sapping energy from people and utilities alike. We're joined on the phone by Eric Lamoureux. He is one of the California Offices of Emergency Management workers there, and he's -- we're hearing that you have 17 cooling stations set up. This is really one of the hottest days of the week, or of the year so far for you.

ERIC LAMOUREUX, CALIF. EMERGENCY SERVICES: Well, on Tuesday, Governor Schwarzenegger did open up 17 state facilities to be cooling centers for local residents trying to escape the heat. We're trying to be as proactive as we can to help people understand how to protect themselves from the heat, give them opportunities to cool themselves off and ensure that we don't have any injuries from the heat.

LEMON: Yes. Speaking of that, do you have any injuries so far? Are people coming in from heat exhaustion or dehydration?

LAMOUREUX: Well, there is always isolated incidents. Any time you've got heat conditions like this, people overexert themselves outside, and that's one thing we're strongly encouraging people to be careful with. But we don't have any reports of any major situations right now that have occurred anywhere in the state.

LEMON: Mr. Lamoureux, how is this in comparison to summers past for California?

LAMOUREUX: Well, certainly we're not expecting the extended heat we saw last July when we had a number of issues up and down the state. It appears that yesterday and today are probably going to be our hottest days in California this week. There's going to be some limited cooling. But temperatures are still going to be hot. And the big problem we've got is in many areas the overnight temperatures aren't dropping enough in some cases for people to really get the recovery they need.

LEMON: Yes, and that's a problem, because you expect when the sun goes down, temperatures would go down as well. That doesn't always happen. I remember being out in California a couple of years ago when have you had a heatwave and you have rolling blackouts. How are you dealing as far as electricity-wise?

LAMOUREUX: Well, we just got off a briefing with not only our weather officials, but also with our electric system officials in California just a short time ago, and the folks that operate our electric grid indicate we don't anticipate any problems this week with that.

The one thing we're strongly encouraging folks to do is certainly to check in on their friends or family that live by themselves that are otherwise vulnerable. Keep in regular contact with those individuals that are real vulnerable to the hear to make sure that they're taken care of.

LEMON: All right, well, we certainly wish you well and we thank you for joining us today in the CNN NEWSROOM. Eric Lamoureux with the California Office of Emergency Services.



PHILLIPS: A high-profile bust draws attention to a growing problem in America, prescription drug abuse.

Ahead in the NEWSROOM, what drugs turned up in Al Gore III's car, and how many others are abusing them?


LEMON: Well, is his latest arrest, but not his first. Al Gore III is back in rehab just 24 hours after police in suburban L.A. say they found pot and several prescription drugs in his car. We're Xanax, Valium, Vicodin and Adderall. And sheriff's deputies say Gore didn't have prescriptions for any of it.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins now to us sort it out. It's quite a list here.

And the big question, how big of a problem is this for young people? We seem to keep hearing about all of these drugs, especially Adderall?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Adderall is huge, and I'll get to that in a minute.

You know, I think sometimes parents think I'm going to worry about cocaine, or meth or marijuana, and all of those are big, bad drugs, obviously, but actually prescription drug abuse, some people think, is going to become an even worse problem than street drug abuse. They say that it is on its way already.

Take a look at some truly staggering statistics about the proportion of college students who abuse drugs. It has gone up from 93 to 2002, went up 450 percent for tranquilizers, like Xanax and Valium, 343 percent for opioids, like Vicodin and Oxycontin, and 93 percent for stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. Now you mentioned Adderall, that 93 percent, some young people said to me, oh, it must be going up even more than that, because they said, it is just such a popular drug.

LEMON: Yes, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Let's go over real quick -- you said Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, so we know about these. And I mentioned Oxycontin, I remember that was a huge problem, but now it seems to be Adderall, and I've heard it referred to as adults as corporate cocaine, and then in children, kiddie crack, or something like that.

COHEN: Well, the problem is that so many people are taking this drug legitimately, so millions of people, let's say young people, college students, are taking Ritalin for the right reasons. They have ADHD. So they're sitting there with supply of Ritalin, or Adderall, rather, and other student notice, they say, hey, can you share some of that with me? I have a test tomorrow and I'd like to stay up all night. Or some kids decide they're going to make a little pocket change out of selling their Adderall.

I've been told from young people it's relatively easy to get the Adderall. You show up at your doctor, and say I'm having trouble paying attention. Bam, you've got a prescription for Adderall. You can use it yourself or share it with your friends.

LEMON: OK, it's too bad though, but -- the sheriff's deputy, according to what I've read said that they were -- he didn't have prescriptions for it. COHEN: Right.

LEMON: So, what about his health history? Is there anything in his history that would lend him to this type of medication that was found in the car?

COHEN: Well, they certainly know that he has been in and out of substance abuse programs for quite a while. In fact, his family says that right now, he is getting treated for substance abuse problems. In 2003, he was busted for marijuana possession, in 2002, he was arrested on a DUI.

Now, not commenting about him in particular, but it is very clear that even when a family has all the financial resources they could want, have all the connections they could possibly use, this is such an incredibly difficult addiction to get over. Addiction to prescription drugs is really tough, no matter whose son you are.

LEMON: Yes, and we hear about it all the time, unfortunately.

COHEN: That's right, that's right.

LEMON: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks for sorting ...

COHEN: Thanks.

LEMON: ...all of this out for us. And we want to tell our viewers, you can learn more tonight from young Gore's father. Former Vice President Al Gore is Larry King's guest. That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Pacific, right here on CNN.

PHILLIPS: The mayor of Los Angeles admits he's more than a source to a certain L.A. newscaster. Is that bad news for his political future?

CNN's Jason Carroll reports.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is Mirthala Salinas, a journalist for a Spanish-language TV station, who at one point covered politics in Los Angeles, and he is Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A.'s mayor. They're the characters in the story of an affair, no longer being kept secret.

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, LOS ANGELES: It's true. I have a relationship with Miss Salinas and I take full responsibility for my actions.

CARROLL: The media began raising questions about Villaraigosa's marriage in January when he stopped wearing his wedding ring. Then, last month, he announced he and his wife Corina were breaking up, and this week, both the mayor and Salinas acknowledged they were having a relationship.

Salinas told the Associated Press, "While we are both public figures, I hope that everyone can understand and respect my desire to maintain my privacy."

Salinas works for Telemundo, a network spokesman says they won't comment on personal matters.

MANUEL ABUD, TELEMUNDO: There's only one thing that matters to us and that's our credibility, our connection with our audience. Our credibility is our most important asset.

CARROLL: Villaraigosa doesn't believe this personal matter will affect his ability to be mayor.

VILLARAIGOSA: I don't believe that the details of my personal life are relevant to my job as mayor.

CARROLL: A number of political figures have had affairs and have gone on to successes. New York's former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, for example, now presidential candidate.

BILL SCHNEIDER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Will it be politically wounding? Will there be repercussions? I'm not sure. I doubt it because, first of all, he's not up for re-election until 2009, which is two years away. Second of all, if he runs for governor, that would be in 2010, that's a lot of time between now and then.

CARROLL: In the city where the private lives of public figures often become tabloid news, Angelinos have mixed views.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's anybody's business, really. You know, that's his private life and it should remain private.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's an image to the public. So, I mean, doing what he shouldn't be doing, doing those things, it just doesn't look right.

CARROLL (on camera): Telemundo says Salinas stopped covering politics back in August. Telemundo also says that Salinas will continue to work there as a correspondent, but will not cover City Hall.


LEMON: Jason Carroll reporting for us, thank you Jason.

Open borders, one northeastern community at the center of security concerns, now considering a very low tech way to stop cross border traffic. Details straight ahead in the CNN NEWSROOM.


LEMON: Well, we've certainly heard a lot over the past few months about illegal immigrants, but there's also something going on with legal immigrants. More and more want to be citizens. More than 115,000 apply for U.S. citizenship in May, compared with about 65,000 in December and some were trying to beat an increase in application fees. Others say they were unnerved by the uproar over immigration reform.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...and abjure (ph).

CROWD: Renounce and abjure (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All allegiance and fidelity.

CROWD: All allegiance and fidelity.


LEMON: About 1,000 immigrants took the oath of U.S. citizenship at a star-studded Fourth of July ceremony at Walt Disney World in Florida. Gloria Estefan sang the national anthem and Lee Greenwood closed with "God Bless America." Now appropriately enough for a dream come true, this ceremony took place at Cinderella's Castle.

PHILLIPS: Thousands of miles and a world away from the U.S.- Mexican border, a crossing point so unobtrusive, rather, even the locals sometimes wonder where Canada stops and the U.S. begins.

CNN's Gary Tuchman reports that may be about to change.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Drive down this quiet village street in Quebec, Canada, and without passing the border gate or border guard, you'll be in the United States. There are three residential streets here in Derby Line, Vermont where the international frontier is unguarded.

Canadian cars drive into the United States, U.S. cars drive into Canada. Signs warn all who've done that to go to nearby, sometimes crowded border checkpoints. But despite video cameras up high, many drivers do not.

Border apprehensions in this small community, many for drug violations continue to climb. Forty-four people were captured in 200. Halfway through this year, the number has already reached 32. But with an unknown number of people not being caught and Interstate 91 providing a quick nearby getaway into the U.S., authorities are considering toughening things up.

Border officers from both countries told an audience of Americans and Canadians that it may be time for the first time since the roads were built to block route (ph) traffic. But it's not a particularly popular idea in this area that considers itself one unified community.

One of the town officials in Derby Line, Vermont is Buzz Roy.

(on camera): Do you think though, that closing up the streets makes the United States a little bit safer?

BUZZ ROY, OVERSEES DERBY LINE, VERMONT: No, maybe a little bit safer but not appreciably safer and not for the distress it'll cause the villages.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Blocking the roads would create longer trips for residents to go between countries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not going to like it.

TUCHMAN: But the idea of beefing up this border goes hand-in- hand with terrorism concerns. Canada was the starting point for a high-profile terrorist plot in 1999 when Ahmed Ressam was caught by border guards entering Washington state. He was convicted in a plot to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

(on camera): So what is the main recommendation of law enforcement officials for closing off these streets? The concept is not high-tech or elaborate. The idea, in the middle of the roads, place flower planters.

(voice-over): Vermont citizen Rich Hodio was at the meeting.

RICH HODIO, VERMONT CITIZEN: A number of people chuckled. They thought it was really droll, or whatever.

TUCHMAN: The idea will be further discussed later this month. In the meantime, on two of the three unpatrolled streets, it's unclear where the border even is, which leads to accidental crossings.

Diane Roleaux lives on the Canada side of one of the streets.

(on camera): It's hard to tell what country you're in on this street, isn't it?


TUCHMAN: I mean, can we be 100 percent sure if we're in the United States or Canada right now?

ROLEAUX: No, you would have to see probably the maps.

TUCHMAN: And how long have you lived here?

ROLEAUX: Twenty-seven years.

TUCHMAN: You're not exactly sure?

ROLEAUX: Yes, I know, I'm living here for 27 years. That I'm sure of.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): She can't be sure, though, that her street will remain untouched. In the name of national security, those flower planters could be coming soon.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, on the Vermont/Quebec border.


LEMON: A hot streak in Vegas that has nothing to do with casinos. Ahead in the NEWSROOM, details on a dangerous heat wave that makes going outdoors a gamble.

PHILLIPS: He's famous to some, infamous to others. But, to a lot of people, he's just what's his name. Do you really know Lewis "Scooter" Libby? We'll hit the streets to find out next, in the CNN NEWSROOM.

LEMON: And there are now nine million millionaires in America. Up next, we'll tell you how they're making it, how they're spending it, and why a 100-foot yacht just doesn't cut it anymore.

Why is that, Kyra?


PHILLIPS: Some of those stories that probably are not -- they won't go away until 2008 and there's a new president in office. But Scooter Libby, once again, we've got an update for you. The right- hand man to Vice President Dick Cheney, as you remember, he was sentenced to 30 months in prison for perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators during that probe in 2003, when he exposed a CIA agent's identity.

As you know, within the past week, President Bush didn't pardon him, but commuted his sentence and ordered him to report to prison. When he was reported to prison, said it was too harsh. That got rid of that, but said he still had to pay $250,000. He may lose his law license.

Well, he wrote the check today. There it is, $250,000 check. As you noticed, we blocked out the account number. A lot of people might have been really interested in seeing that account number. But that's a whole other story. Anyway, he's paid his fine, in cash. There it is, the cashier's check.

Ed Henry is in a White House briefing right now. Of course, a lot of questions circling today's developments and we'll have him up live talking about it in just a little bit.

LEMON: I don't think they can do anything with that account number anyway. But it's good we blocked it out.

You've heard his name, you know, it's Lewis, his nickname "Scooter," and you heard plenty of people talking about him this week, but do you really know who Lewis "Scooter" Libby is?

Our Jeanne Moos went to the streets of New York. She went to check it out.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a coach of someone, right?




Oh, gosh. He's English.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, that's that Skippy -- Skitter Lewer.

MOOS: His nickname that he's known by is something that you ride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's his name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so disappointed with...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blair -- Tony -- no, not..

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. That's not Tony Blair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not Tony Blair.


MOOS: No, this is not Tony Blair.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's also, like, old white men. So...



MOOS: They all look the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They all kind of look the same.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scooter -- Scooter -- Scooter...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's Scooter Libby.

MOOS: How do you feel about the president giving him...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, I think it's an outrage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bush just decided to pull a Nixon on him and pardon him. Yes, gee. Yes.

MOOS: Good idea or bad idea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, come on. In America, nobody -- you know, money buys verdicts. You know that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a terrible thing. I cannot believe that he did that. Absolutely upset about that, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's that guy, Libby -- Skippy Libby -- Scooter -- Scooter -- Scooter, you know ...




PHILLIPS: A 100-foot yacht. Might as well be an inflatable rowboat to the 9 million residents of "Richistan" -- ever heard of it? You only need a million dollar bank account for residence.

"Richistan" is the name of Robert Frank's new book and what he calls the land of America's ultra-wealthy. Here's what "The Wall Street Journal" reporter had to say earlier on "AMERICAN MORNING."


ROBERT FRANK, AUTHOR, "RICHISTAN": There are now nine million millionaire households in America, and even if you go higher, you know, a million's not what it used to be. So, 10 million is sort of the new million. A half a million households worth $10 million or more and the top one percent of Americans control 17 trillion with a T, million -- trillion dollars of wealth. So, never before has America had so many people get so rich so quickly.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: So how are these people getting rich?

FRANK: Most of them are getting rich through starting their own companies and selling them, they're the classic self-made entrepreneurs. Inherited money, the old money where it's past down from one generation to the other, that's gone. It's all about young people starting their own companies, coming up with great ideas at the right time and then selling those companies either to capital markets or to larger companies.

ROBERTS: What's the most interesting thing that you found out about this group of people?

FRANK: One of the interesting things was they're sort of never happy no matter what they have. There's a story in the book about -- I'm with a guy on a 100-foot yacht and I say, well this is a terrific boat. And he said, well, look down the harbor. And we looked down the marina, and there were boats two and three times as large, and he said, my 100-foot yacht today is like a dinghy compared to these other boats.


PHILLIPS: Well, if you're looking for a short cut to "Richistan" or "Richistan," tomato, tomato, you can always apply to be a butler. They make six figures starting out. So we hear. I guess it depends on who you're a butler for.

Next hour of CNN's NEWSROOM starts right now.

LEMON: So there's hot and then there is hot, and those together -- add those together and bake and you might have some idea what it feels like today to be in Phoenix.

PHILLIPS: Or Palm Desert. Don't even get us started on Death Valley.

Hello, I'm Kyra Phillips in the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

LEMON: And I'm Don Lemon. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the critics say it was a slap on the wrist for the president to commute his sentence. Others say the president didn't go far enough.